Golden Knights Rookie Grades – April

The Vegas Golden Knights’ rookies have had a great season thus far, and with only a handful of games remaining, they’ll look to continue to produce into the postseason. April was tougher on the young players, though, as they scored some of the lowest marks of the season in this edition of Rookie Grades. So, without further ado, check out who fared better than the rest.

Keegan Kolesar

Building off a solid month in March, Kolesar enjoyed some success in April as well. In eight games last month, he registered one goal and two assists. He primarily centered the fourth line, a new role that might be solidified heading into the playoffs. He played particularly well but may have overshadowed by his teammates who played on the first two lines.

Kolesar’s best game of the month came on April 9 against the Arizona Coyotes, when he skated like a man on a mission. The goal he scored was a perfect example of the dedication and intensity he brings to the team and why he will be such a key piece for the Golden Knights heading forward.

A great heads up play by Kolesar led to a beauty of a goal for him

Although he slowed down after that game, Kolesar still played well in the ice time he was given, which was a measly 9:38 per game. His physicality is also a huge boost for the team, and Kolesar scores an A in this month’s rookie grades.

Final Grade for April: A

Dylan Coghlan

April was a rough month for the young defenseman, who barely saw any ice time and hardly contributed on the stat sheet as a result. In eight games, he posted zero points, and a minus-1 rating. His average TOI was a mere 9:29, not bad for a rookie defenseman, but not enough to fully throw yourself into the action.

I believe with more playing time, Coghlan can exceed expectations and become a solid top-six defenseman on the Golden Knights. He just needs more playing time, but the Golden Knights have a stacked defensive corps, so he might have to wait a while for that to happen. Coghlan’s grade for this month is a C.

Final Grade for April: C

Zach Whitecloud

Similar to Coghlan, Whitecloud didn’t enjoy his best month either. He was solid and performed well, but he has played much better in other games this season. There really is no one to blame for his play because Vegas’ top defenseman stole the show, and Whitecloud’s tame game was easily overshadowed.

Zach Whitecloud Vegas Golden Knights
Zach Whitecloud is a calming presence on the Vegas blueline (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the 10 games he played in April, Whitecloud registered a measly two assists and a zero plus/minus rating. He did play big minutes, with an average of 16:06 TOI. His game has never been the most exciting, but he gets the job done, and a player like Whitecloud balances out the “offense-heavy” defensemen like Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo. For this reason, I am giving him a B- for his play during the month.

Final Grade for April: B-

Nic Hague

As one of the finest defensive prospects in the NHL, Hague disappointed me this month. I expected him to chip in on offense more and produce more scoring chances, but, alas, you can’t always get what you want. He was still great, playing the body, and he was strong in the defensive zone, but that he didn’t use his offensive talent was frustrating, to say the least.

Nicolas Hague Vegas Golden Knights
Nicolas Hague has been a revelation for the Golden Knights this season (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In 14 games last month, Hague registered one goal. He did well, stickhandling his way into the offensive zone and trying to create scoring chances, but he just didn’t seem to have much luck. He also registered an underwhelming minus-1 while logging an average of 14:59 TOI.

Hague has been a revelation for the Golden Knights this season, so I wouldn’t read too much into his lack of production in April. All players have off-games, and this may just be part of the learning curve for a young defenseman. I’m sure he’ll regain his mojo. His grade for this month is a C.

Final Grade for April: C

Fresh Start

The boys in Gold and Silver are back in action on Monday in a match-up against the Minnesota Wild. With only a handful of games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the rookies will want to close out the season with momentum and try and bring it into the playoffs. There’s nothing I love more than watching a rookie step up their game in the playoffs. Here’s hoping all four of the rooks mentioned above do exactly that.

How do you feel about my grades? Let me know in the comments below!

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